Thursday, June 28, 2018

Satellite Evidence of Myanmar Atrocities


The ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state has caused hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Amnesty International's Mapping Myanmar's Atrocities Against Rohingya is a story map exploring the systematic burning of Rohingya villages, mosques and homes by the Myanmar military.

As you progress through Amnesty's story map eye witness accounts provide evidence of the atrocities carried out by the Myanmar army. In particular the map recounts the Chut Pyin Massacre, where hundreds of Rohingya were killed, and the village was set ablaze. Following the Chut Pyin Massacre the army went on to burn down many more Rohingya villages. The Amnesty map uses before and after satellite images to show the targeted burning of these Rohingya villages. As Amnesty's map shows this "didn’t just happen in one area - it happened in Rohingya villages across northern Rakhine State".

Amnesty map documents the refugee routes taken by the Rohingya who fled to neighboring Bangladesh. The map also documents how the Myanmar army has been building military bases across Rakhine state, often on land where Rohingya used to live. The burning of villages and the building of military bases seems deliberately designed to deter Rohingya from returning to their homes.


Reuters has also used data from the U.N. Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) to map the Rohingya homes and villages which have been burned by the Myanmar military. Burned to the Ground uses satellite imagery of Myanmar to identify villages which have been shelled and / or burnt to the ground.

As you read through Burned to the Ground an interactive satellite map scrolls along a 110km strip of Rakhine state in Myanmar highlighting the burned villages while also outlining some of the atrocities carried out by the Myanmar military and government. Around 655,000 Rohingya have now been displaced. Myanmar is making sure that they will have no homes to return to.
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